If America wants to maximize electric vehicle charging, then the transmission needs to be a two-way plug-in street.
To that end, Toyota Motor North America and Oncor Electric Delivery, a Texas-based electric transmission and distribution company, agreed recently to launch a joint test project offering vehicle-to-grid (V2G) services. With this technology, EVs can flow power from their battery backs onto the electric grid.
The effort will be led by Toyota's Electric Vehicle Charging Solutions (EVCS) team, marking a first collaboration with a public utility for Toyota in the U.S. centered on battery electric vehicles.
What the EV Charging Project Will Show
The results from the research will allow Toyota and Oncor to better support the broader EV charging infrastructure in the U.S. It is designed to provide more reliable charging for Toyota's EV customers.
"We envision a future where Toyota BEVs can be used by our customer to power their homes, their communities or even power back the electric grid in times of need," said Christopher Yang, group vice president of the Toyota EVCS team, in a news release.
"Our collaboration with Oncor is an important step for us to understand the needs of utilities, as we plan to work closely with them to ensure every community can embrace Toyota's shift to electrified vehicles."
Jim Greer, Oncor executive vice president and COO, said Toyota will help Oncor better understand how the electric grid can enable V2G transactions across its service territory. "We look forward to someday implementing the lessons learned from this pilot project in benefit of the many communities we serve."
How the V2G Research Will Work
Initially, the two companies have agreed to a research project that will use Oncor's research and testing microgrid at its System Operating Services Facility (SOSF) in south Dallas, located just south of Toyota's nearby national headquarters.
- The SOSF microgrid is composed of four interconnected microgrids that can be controlled independently, but also operated in parallel, tandem or combined into a single, larger system.
- The microgrid and its subsystems also include a "V2G" charger, solar panels and battery storage for testing and evaluation.
- Toyota and Oncor plan to use a BEV along with the system to better understand the interconnectivity between BEVs and utilities.
Phase 2 EV Connections
- A second phase of the project slated for 2023 will include a V2G pilot where testing will be conducted with BEVs connected at homes or businesses within Oncor's service territory, pursuant to all standard interconnection processes and agreements.
- The collaboration will help provide both Oncor and Toyota insight into the current and future needs of its customers.
- Then it will provide Oncor with additional insight into the infrastructure needed to enable the rapid growth of EVs and EV charging infrastructure, meet their needs and support electric vehicles and better understand the effects of V2G on the electric grid.
Toyota's first mass-market BEV, the bZ4X, went on sale this past year in the U.S. and Canada. The first Lexus BEV, the RZ 450e, is scheduled to go on sale in early 2023.